It is in the nature of things that in every Institution people come and go, and the Bank, in its forty five years existence has witnessed many changes, particularly in recent years and tributes have been paid in this journal and elsewhere to numerous members of the Staff on their retirement or resignation.
However, when it comes to recording the retirement of Mr. Sutherland we think of him not only as a colleague but also as our Chief who for the last seven years has guided the destinies of the Bank. Thus although the pattern of the event is much the same, the occasion assumes a greater significance, so much so that one feels that a milestone in the history of the Bank has been reached.
Mr. Sutherland joined the Staff in 1925 after a period of service with the Coventry Savings Bank where he had already earned a reputation for keenness and efficiency. It is not surprising, therefore, that his ability was soon recognised and after serving for several years as a Branch Manager, in which capacity he was called upon to do much of the spade work in connection with the introduction of mechanised posting which in those days was regarded as a revolutionary innovation, he was promoted to Inspector in 1946, Branch Superintendent in 1947, Assistant General Manager in 1950 and finally appointed General Manager in 1957 on the retirement of Mr. Carver.
As General Manager, Mr. Sutherland, like his predecessors made his own particular contribution to the development of the Bank, notably in the introduction of new services to meet the needs of the time. He was not afraid to discard practices which had become outmoded and was always ready to revise and streamline existing methods not only to provide a better and more efficient service but also to ease internal working for the benefit of the Staff. Any suggestions put to him with these objects in view were never unwelcome and never failed to receive his careful consideration.
Perhaps his outstanding characteristics were his approachability, unfailing cheerfulness and a capacity for friendship. These qualities were never far from the surface in his relations with the whole of the Staff and were certainly abundantly evident to those with whom he was in close contact.
His experience as a Branch Manager left him mindful of the problems with which Branches have to deal and although he was not a person to accept the foolish or imprudent action with a smile he always showed a sympathetic understanding of the difficulties which sometimes occur and was invariably fair in assessing responsibility if the need for censure arose.
That Mr. Sutherland's retirement should have been hastened by reasons of health is a matter of deep regret to us all. Fortunately in spite of the limitations imposed by his indisposition his zest for life has not been diminished nor has he allowed the enjoyment of a wide variety of interests to be seriously curtailed.
We all hope that his health will steadily improve so that together with his wife, who has always been a wonderful helpmate to him, he will have many long and happy years to pursue his numerous hobbies and to exercise those talents, with which he has been so generously endowed.
(NOTE: H J Sutherland was the Bank's third General Manager - from February 15th 1957 to July 31st 1964. Prior to being appointed as a Branch Inspector in 1946, the branches he managed included Aston; Aston Cross; and Handsworth. Mr Sutherland died August 18th 1969.)